Picture for illustrative purposes: An Emirates A380 aircraft paints the skies with the colours of the French flag in celebration of World Cup victory. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The French Embassy in Abu Dhabi has announced that Bastille Day on July 14, which marks the anniversary of the 1789 revolution, will be celebrated online this year in line with coronavirus precautions.

“The French community as a whole is grateful to the UAE leadership for taking the necessary steps to protect the population. We are therefore fully committed to respect and implement the safety measures in place,” said French Ambassador Ludovic Pouille. “However, we could not imagine to simply cancel our National Day. This is how we came up with an innovative and creative concept of an online ceremony.”

The three priorities of this year’s ceremony in the UAE are; to honour the victims of the pandemic, to pay tribute to French frontline citizens in the UAE, and to highlight relations between France and the UAE.

The one-hour ceremony on the theme of solidarity will include both anthems, two ministerial speeches and a short musical concert.

“The French Embassy’s audience on the social networks - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - has been growing rapidly in recent years, and our digital communication has been of utmost importance during the COVID-19 crisis to keep our fellow citizens well informed,” said Antoine Alhéritière, the Embassy’s head of communications.

“Our Digital national day is an unprecedented experiment in the UAE. It is an open event, accessible to all. The speeches will be in French and Arabic, with English subtitles. We will be streaming the ceremony on Facebook and Twitter (@FranceEmirats), on July 14, starting from 7pm.”

Around 30,000 French nationals live in the UAE.